Imagine trying to anticipate everything you might want to do in your recording studio over the next ten or so years – and then trying to design a new studio to accommodate that, down to the last table, patchbay, and wall jack.

That is what I’ve been doing the last several months (in addition to everything else). But that dream looks like it is about to become reality: Construction on my new studio is scheduled to start by the end of February, taking 4-6 months overall. In the featured article, I cover some of main considerations I’ve been working through.

But that’s not the only thing I’ve been up to; I’ve been working on music, beta-testing a new quad modulator, and more. Let’s get to it:


  • featured articleI’m building a new studio from scratch. This has meant learning about immersive audio, acoustics, and all sorts of construction details (including local building codes).
  • Alias Zone updatesI have a  goal of playing more percussion as part of my music. Here’s one crazy idea I’m trying.
  • Learning Modular updates: I’ve been playing with a new quad modulation source that’s replacing several other modules in my systems. There will be a “deep dive” on it January 13.
  • Patreon updatesA detailed breakdown of my latest song, some patching techniques using a Polyfusion modular, Robert Rich on performing live, and samples from my Prophet VS.
  • upcoming eventsI will be part of a panel on modular synthesis at the upcoming NAMM show.

Alias Zone Updates

What’s happening with the new album(s) I keep promising? The short version is: I’m still working; more details are in the Patreon Track Breakdown mentioned below. The long version is…

I was very active composing and performing live music from late 2021 through late 2023. I recorded everything I created, and I thought it would be a relatively simple matter of cleaning up those recordings, maybe adding an overdub or two, and releasing a series of albums featuring that material in quick succession.

But after some soul-searching with one of my musical mentors (Howard Givens of Spotted Peccary Music), I decided to take a different tact. This included tightening up the compositions from their original extended length performances, remixing them, and adding overdubs not just from a couple guest musicians but also more of what reflects my personal interests, including more hand percussion – including the “frame drum” above (which is actually a piece of art my wife Trish was working on).

As a bonus, editing down the longer pieces will create room on each album to add new, shorter compositions to them, to help introduce my music to more people who may frequent streaming services and music shows which tend to ignore anything over ten minutes in length.

The editing has been the easy part. Adding the percussion overdubs has taken a bit longer, but has been satisfying, taking some of the pieces in new directions. Where my creative block has been is creating the new pieces: free time has been at a premium, and I’ve been overthinking how the new pieces should fit in with the existing material. That has finally been loosening up, and I plan to stay in the studio rather than on the road for at least the first half of 2024 to get more of these albums finished.

Learning Modular Updates

Jim Coker of Five12 has referred to me as a “shadow developer” as I help a few companies behind the scenes with some of their new module plans.

One of the modules I’ve helped with is Five12’s QV-L Quad Variable LFO. It is a quad digital LFO with a number of different modulation shapes – including two different smooth random modes, plus sample & hold stepped random – and a pair of displays that show you exactly what each channel is up to. It also has a large number of other features including internal modulation, envelopes, signal scaling and offset, and preset memory.

In my studio modular, a pair of QV-Ls now replace what I used a Studio Electronics STE.16, Sonic Potions MAL-2, nonlinearcircuits Hypster and Triple Sloth, and half of what I use Pamela’s New Workout for. In my gigging case, I’m thrilled to have presets to quickly switch between songs during a set, plus the built in utility mixer functions to help properly scale and offset the modulations.

On January 13, Jim, myself, and Steve Turner will be live streaming a deep-dive into the QV-L – see the link above; this should also include the replay after the 13th. (Here is a preliminary video if you want to learn a bit ahead of time.) It will also feature a little bit of my music…

Also, I have been interviewed for Waveform Magazine Issue 12; it covers a lot of my past, including my time in the music industry working for Sequential Circuits and others. Look for that to appear soon.

Patreon Updates

On January 1 I posted for my Patreon subscribers a detailed Track Breakdown of how I created my most recent song, Premonition. It was a change in workflow for me, as I recored it a layer at a time, instead of my normal perform-everything-at-once approach. In addition to some nice tricks using the modular, it also features a Prophet VS, Waldorf Iridium, Expressive E Osmose, and a 22” wind gong…

In addition to that piece, since the last newsletter I have also posted:

All of the above are available for my +5v and above subscribers; the Robert Rich piece is also available to my 1v/oct subscribers.

As always, I encourage you to check out the index for my Patreon channel: There’s a lot of content up there, and a 7 day free trial if you want to try out a subscription to access a particular post that’s not already free. If you want to be a fly on the wall while I’m working, my Patreon channel will get you close to that experience.

Upcoming Events

In addition to the Five12 QV-L Deep Dive mentioned above, I will be attending the NAMM Show later this month, including participating in a panel on modular synthesis hosted by the Sound Synthesis Club. It will be Thursday January 25 at 11:00 AM in Room 202AB (Anaheim Convention Center, second floor). For the rest of the show my home base will be the Alan R. Pearlman Foundation booth: #8600 (although Saturday I might check out the Synth Maker Showcase being arranged by Buchla and others).

After that, I am planning on focusing on studio work for at least the first half of 2024. As for live performances, I expect I will be playing at Knobcon this September. If you are interested in having me play at one of your events, please get in touch using the contact form at the bottom of this web page (or at the bottom of the Alias Zone web site).

may 2024 be your best year yet –